Mike Evans’ Best Ball Fantasy Outlook: The Buccaneers’ WR Remains a Safe Option

What can Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans do for an encore to his stellar fantasy season in 2023? Is he worth his increased price in Best Ball drafts?

After largely being written off by fantasy football managers last season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans posted a WR1 season, making him one of the best values in fantasy. With a more expensive 2024 price tag, should fantasy managers pay up to select Evans in Best Ball drafts?

Mike Evans’ 2024 Fantasy Outlook

I’m not the only fantasy analyst to have been out on Evans last season. He was a miss for much of the community. Looking back on it, though, I’m not sure why I wasn’t willing to take a chance on a guy I think is a future Hall of Famer at the lowest ADP of his career.

Evans’ 2022 season was definitely a step backward. He averaged fewer fantasy points per game than any of his previous four seasons. However, let’s not pretend like 15.0 points per game is bad. He finished as the overall WR13, which is right around where he normally finishes.

Physically, Evans didn’t show any signs of decline. If anything, it should’ve been viewed as a positive that he was able to do what he did while playing with a quarterback who very clearly didn’t have it anymore.

I’m not saying Tom Brady couldn’t have continued playing in 2023, but he was not a quality NFL quarterback in 2022.

Baker Mayfield was always going to be an upgrade in QB play. Yet, I wasn’t willing to take a chance on Evans, even at a price that removed nearly all of the risk.

One reason for my fade of Evans is I placed a bit too much stock into the Mayfield we saw in Cleveland. That guy couldn’t really get on the same page with the explosive downfield threat in Odell Beckham Jr. Instead, he was more apt to target Jarvis Landry underneath.

As a result, I preferred Chris Godwin, expecting him to mesh better with Mayfield.

Additionally, the Bucs attempted over 700 passes in 2021 and 2022. That was never going to happen in 2023. Before the season, I stated I expected at least over 100 fewer pass attempts. That ended up being quite prescient, as Mayfield threw just 566 passes last year.

While Evans’ overall volume did decrease, his target share went up from 19.7% to 24.5%, which helped to mitigate the loss of total targets. What contributed most to his stellar season, though, was the massive increase in efficiency.

Evans was a monster downfield. He led the league in deep-ball targets with 36, and his 14.1 aDOT (average depth of target) was 14th in the league. Evans’ yards per route and yards per reception were both top 15. Most importantly for fantasy, he led the NFL with 13 receiving touchdowns.

Evans has now put together 10 straight seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards. His 1,255 from last year actually marked the third-highest total of his career.

Should You Draft Evans in 2024 Best Ball Leagues?

Evans will be 31 years old this season. As great as he was last year, the end is undoubtedly near.

It’s always difficult to envision a guy playing at Evans’ level suddenly not even being a relevant fantasy receiver. But that’s going to happen eventually — almost certainly within the next three years.

With that said, the only question Best Ball drafters need to answer is whether we think it will happen this year. And I do not.

Evans reestablished himself as the Bucs’ WR1, firmly ahead of Godwin. Currently, Godwin’s future with the team is a bit unclear. He could theoretically get cut or traded. Regardless of what happens, though, Evans is going to be the main guy.

KEEP READING: Best Ball Fantasy WR Rankings 2024

I fully expect the Bucs to re-sign Mayfield. He got them to the playoffs last year. He wants to be back, and the team wants him back. It makes all the sense in the world. We know Evans and Mayfield have a good connection, and I see no reason it wouldn’t continue.

Evans is not necessarily a receiver fantasy managers should aggressively target. His 16.6 fantasy points per game last season likely represents his ceiling. But it would be a surprise if he averaged fewer than 15.0 ppg, making him one of the safest picks you can make.

With the fantasy football season behind us, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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